Proper Braces Hygiene

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Can you believe it? 2014 is almost over already! We hope all of you in Ottawa had wonderful holiday celebrations with your friends and families, and wish nothing but the best for 2015. With the new year right around the corner, people all over the capital city are learning from their experiences this year and looking forward to more success in the upcoming year by creating New Year’s resolutions. You’ve may have heard a friend resolving to be more frugal or take up a new hobby. Maybe your sister has vowed to go to the gym everyday, or perhaps you’ve even thought of a resolution for yourself, to further your career or live a more healthy lifestyle. Although it takes a lot of determination to change your routine for the whole year, a resolution to live healthier is actually a great way to start the year off on the right foot.

girl with braces cleaning teeth

For those Ottawans with braces, if your New Year’s resolution involves healthier living, why not try an easy change to your routine, like an upgrade to your teeth-cleaning regimen? Don’t worry, we’re not here to give you a lecture, but if you’re planning to get your braces off next year, it is important to understand that if proper brushing techniques are not executed, you can be left with undesired discoloring, cavities on your teeth, or even swollen and infected gum tissue. You don’t have to panic, though, because we are here to help!

Following these steps while brushing your teeth will help you achieve proper braces hygiene and that perfect smile at the end of your orthodontic treatment:

  1. Rinse your mouth with water to remove any loose food particles.

  2. Using a regular bristle toothbrush and your favourite toothpaste, brush back and forth at about a 45 degree angle from your teeth on top of and below the wires.

  3. Make sure to brush not only the brackets, wires and front of your teeth, but also the chewing surface, sides and back of the teeth, as well as the roof of your mouth, the insides of your cheeks, your tongue and  your gums!

  4. Some tooth brushes are labeled “orthodontic” but really any tooth brush work just fine.  The orthodontic ones makes it a little easier to brush since they are smaller, double-ended brush with a cone shape on one end, and a tuft on the other designed to clean hard-to-reach areas. Each of these ends can also be found as individual brushes.  They can de used to clean between brackets and behind the wires with the cone brush, upwards from the bottom of the tooth, and from the gum line downward. Use the smaller end for tight, over-crowded areas.

  5. Rinse your mouth once again, this time swish mouthwash around and try to be as thorough as possible, swishing around each tooth.

For a demonstration of brushing and cleaning techniques with braces, check out this video, or ask us at your next appointment – we would be happy to show you. All it takes to achieve your goal of well-being is just a little more commitment to your own oral hygiene, not only for a New Year’s resolution, but for your overall health.

Teen girl with braces and doctor with patient in background.

We wish you luck with your new routine and your 2015 New Year’s resolution! Happy New Year, Ottawa!

Braces-Friendly Stocking Stuffers

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Christmas stockings on fireplace mantel

The holidays are approaching quickly and people all around Ottawa are preparing for various family celebrations. Every family has their own traditions, and one of the most well-known Christmas conventions is the filling of stockings with treats and goodies. In fact, it can be just as fun to fill a stocking as it is to open one! There are, however, some family and friends who require a little extra thought and care when purchasing Christmas gifts.

While you’re picking out items to fill the stockings of your loved ones, it’s important to remember those family members with orthodontic appliances. As we all know, there are many sugary holiday treats that can be detrimental for braces, not to mention unhealthy. Last year, we gave a few tips for maintaining oral health during the holidays – always great to remind ourselves! – but this year, we are focusing on all the goodies and gifts found in a Christmas stocking.

Kid's toothbrush

Toothbrush and Toothpaste

The best gift an Ottawa orthodontist can recommend is, not surprisingly, a toothbrush! Add a fun toothbrush or new kind of toothpaste to get children excited about brushing their teeth. The novelty of a special toothbrush may not last forever, but it will help to encourage them to keep brushing their teeth throughout the busy, treat-filled days until the New Year. There are several options for kids’ toothbrushes with cartoon characters, glow-in-the-dark abilities, and some even play music. Plus, children’s toothpaste comes in different flavours like watermelon and strawberry, which can also help make brushing a more exciting activity. For adults, it’s always nice to get a new toothbrush – how many of us think about routinely replacing our old one? – in fact, it’s recommended to change your toothbrush every 3 months for proper oral hygiene and care. Some adult toothbrushes even come with special capabilities like pulsing vibrations and special bristles. Check out our Toothbrush Buying Guide for the pros and cons of manual and powered toothbrushes, and tips for brushing with braces.

Healthy, Braces and Orthodontics-Friendly Treats

Everyone loves to get sweets in their stocking. Chocolate, candy canes, and other sugary treats abound over the holiday season, so it’s always a good idea to know what to avoid when shopping for family and friends with orthodontic appliances. For a list of braces-friendly treats and a list of treats to avoid, check out our tips from National Orthodontic Month, Halloween and Valentine’s Day.

The highlights: stick to chocolates (without nuts or caramel) or soft candies, and chips are great as long as they’re eaten carefully so as to not break or damage the braces. You can also try unconventional goodies like bags of herbal tea or hot chocolate mix as a tasty stocking stuffer.

Braces at Christmas

Creative Alternatives

Who says stockings have to be filled exclusively with candy? This is an opportunity to be creative with your holiday gifting! Find fun, unique ways to wrap small gifts to place in their stockings; hide a gift card in a toilet paper tube, or stick a t-shirt into a small jar or tin. Not only will your sneaky gift-wrapping allow for a fun surprise, it also gives you more options for gifts to avoid putting too many sweets in the stockings.

Shopping for those who are undergoing an orthodontic treatment shouldn’t have to add stress to your holiday preparations. It’s actually a perfect opportunity for you to get creative and find fun alternatives to the usual stocking stuffers. It will also allow you to find more personal gifts that will have more of an impact, and carry a stronger sentiment for the one receiving them. After all, love and family are really what the holidays are all about. Have fun stuffing stockings, and have a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season, Ottawa!

Braces-Friendly Halloween Treats

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We recently posted about National Orthodontic Health Month in October, and we mentioned some quick tips for maintaining orthodontic health during Thanksgiving and Halloween. With the latter being right around the corner, parents everywhere are searching for alternative treats for those with braces. Halloween is truly a time for fun, and a time for kids to simply be kids; dress up in fun costumes, then collect and eat as much candy as possible. It can also be a great opportunity to teach your children important lessons about nutrition and dental care. They can learn good oral health habits for life, without being deprived of precious Halloween treats… It’s all about moderation.

WebMD explains, “The message isn’t “candy is bad,” but that candy and other sweets, in excess, can lead to cavities. Children learn two important lessons:

  • How to control their diets

  • That what they eat relates to oral health, not just physical health”

This is also beneficial for children with orthodontics. Take the time to teach them what snacks are harmful to their braces and help them understand why. Try mixing in healthy snacks with the Halloween candy to balance out your child’s diet. You can be the oral-health-friendly house on the block who passes out healthier alternatives for not only those with braces, but for all children to enjoy (and their parents will thank you!). As for the candy your children bring home, don’t be afraid to be a label snob; read candy labels carefully to identify any problem ingredients, and limit their daily candy intake as much as possible.

It is advisable to set out some kind of schedule for snacking. Create a specific “treat time” after mealtime, as saliva production increases during meals, helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and helps rinse away food particles. Each time your kids indulge in Halloween candy, make sure they finish off with a glass of water, which will help clean sugary residue off their teeth and their braces.


  • Hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time

  • Sticky candies that cling to your teeth, like taffy or caramel

  • Beef Jerky and other leathery food treats

  • Licorice

  • Bubble Gum

  • Jelly Beans

  • Popcorn and nuts 


  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

  • Plain M&M’s

  • Oreo’s & Soft Cookies

  • Hershey Kisses

  • Fruits and applesauce

  • Chocolate Bars without nuts or caramel

  • Marshmallow

  • Twinkies, Snow balls, Ding Dongs

  • Ice Cream or Popsicles (no ice)

  • Jell-O or Pudding

  • Low sugar, non-carbonated drinks

  • Cookies and Crackers

  • Chips

  • Cheetos


  • Chips – eat them carefully and one at a time

  • Apples – cut into small pieces

  • Soda and sugary drinks – drinking too much can cause tooth decay


  • Choose solid chocolate over one filled with a sticky center, as the candy filling may stick to braces and teeth.

  • Choose candy bars without nuts or caramel filling, like Kit Kats or 3 Muskateers.


For more information on eating Halloween treats with orthodontics, check out the American Association of Orthodontics’ Quick-Reference Halloween Treat Guide.

A little moderation goes a long way when it comes to eating treats with orthodontics, but it doesn’t have to be such a chore! Holidays are all about fun, and Halloween is a time where you can be creative and help those with orthodontics by offering smarter and healthier alternatives. Happy Halloween Ottawa!

October is National Orthodontic Month

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Summer flew by this year, as usual, and now we’re quickly diving into Fall! The trees are starting to turn those beautiful autumn colours and storefronts are starting to get into the Thanksgiving and Halloween spirit. Meanwhile, the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) and, of course, we here at Wellington Village Orthodontics are excitedly preparing for National Orthodontic Month in Ottawa!

October is here and it is our favourite month, because it is recognized in Canada and the U.S. as National Orthodontic Month, sponsored by the AAO, where we get to celebrate your beautiful, healthy smile – the biggest benefit of your orthodontic treatment! Plus, with Halloween at the end of the month, October also provides us the opportunity to raise awareness regarding orthodontic care, which plays an important role in dental health and overall physical health. Not only that, but it actually contributes to the movement of your teeth during your orthodontic treatment. Clean teeth respond much better (and as intended) to the gentle force from orthodontic wires, whereas braces that are covered in sticky candy or plaque make it much more difficult for teeth to move, as they cause increased inflammation in gums.

The most obvious concern of Halloween are the treats. We made a list of Back to School Snacks, which also has information on what to avoid, including an excessive amount of sugars or even raisins! To help minimize sugary residue on teeth and to reduce risk of a broken bracket, it’s a good idea to stay away from the following snacks, due to an increased chance of pulling a wire or bracket:

  • Super chewy candy, like taffy and caramel

  • Beef Jerky and other leathery food treats

  • Liquorice

  • Bubble Gum

  • Jelly Beans

  • Hard candies like candy canes and lollipops

  • Popcorn and nuts

Don’t worry, we aren’t here just to tell you what not to eat! We understand that Halloween is an exciting time to dress up and celebrate with friends and family – and of course, delicious treats. Throughout the month, orthodontists across the continent will be sharing several tips, tricks, and treats for you to enjoy! We will be writing an extensive list of braces-friendly Halloween treats and recipes, but for now, you can prepare early by checking out all the great information from AAO. The American Association of Orthodontics website provides a cornucopia of information regarding your teeth, including a list of creative Halloween-themed, orthodontic-friendly treat recipes like Goblin Goodies and Black Cherry Fruit Bats and Citrus Orange Pumpkin Fruity Cutouts! Plus they have a quick-reference Halloween treat guide which gives you a lot of information in an easy-to-read (and printable!) format. They recommend sweets like:

  • Soft, melt-in-your-mouth chocolates

  • Peanut butter cups

  • Milk shakes

  • Gelatin

  • Peeled, thinly sliced apples

  • Ice cream

With Thanksgiving coming up soon as well, it’s important to keep these tips in mind when you plan your family feast. If you normally make a dessert with walnuts, consider leaving them out of the recipe this year, for the sake of those with braces. Maybe try to add a new recipe into the mix, using orthodontic-friendly treats. Stay tuned for our next blog post for more information and great recipe ideas to keep your Thanksgiving and Halloween celebrations fun and tasty for everyone, including those with orthodontics. Thanks for reading, and have happy National Orthodontic Month!

Packing a Healthy Lunch for Healthy Teeth

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Whether you’re brimming with excitement, or filled with dread, it’s that time of year again: Back to School. You’re probably right in the thick of back-to-school shopping and preparations, but we can’t forget school lunches! Whether you pack your children’s lunches or they do it themselves, it’s important to have healthy snacks on hand, not only for their overall health and energy, but also for maintaining good oral health. We all know that soda pops and fizzy drinks are linked to tooth decay, but even some fruits, cereals, and breads contain sugars and starches that can be harmful to our oral health.

No need to add any more stress to the back-to-school preparations, here is a quick reference guide for packing a healthy lunch for healthy teeth:


Keep the Sugary Snacks to a Minimum

We all know kids love candy, and it might be unrealistic to eliminate sweets altogether from your child’s daily routine. Try to pack only “healthy” treats per lunch; like a granola bar, dried fruits or yoghurt. Each time kids eat a sugary snack, bacteria from the mouth produce damaging acids which affect their teeth for almost a half an hour before they are neutralized and can’t do any more harm. So, the more sweets they consume during the day, the more often bacteria is fed the fuel they need to cause plaque and tooth decay.

Watch Out For Hidden Sugars

Candy isn’t the only culprit when it comes to sugar. Foods such as pizza, breads, and cereals may also contain sugars. To avoid these, simply check the Nutrition Facts panel on the package for information on the quantity of sugars and fats in the product.


Don’t Overdo Acidic Foods

Not only do sugary foods threaten tooth decay, but we often overlook the harm that acidic foods can cause to out oral health. Although oranges and grapefruit are considered a healthy treat, they are high in acid which erodes teeth over time. Limit these acidic foods just as you would limit sugary foods.

Snacks to Limit or Avoid

Citrus Juice (Grapefruit, Orange)

Contains high levels of acid, creating a high erosion potential. These juices are fine on occasion, but not for every day, due to the continual acid attack on teeth. “If you want to drink fruit juices or any other acidic foods, try to eat something alkaline such as cheese or milk afterwards which can neutralise the acid effects of sugar in your mouth.” Read more hereNot only that, but boxed juices generally also contain a lot of sugar (sucrose, glucose, fructose, etc.).


Raisins & Dried Fruit

Not only are these treats sticky and chewy (not good for braces!), and more difficult to wash away with saliva, they are often consumed in high quantities. In it’s purest form, dried fruit is simply fruit with the water content removed, but the sugar and fat contents stay relatively the same. Unfortunately, we (and our kids) tend to eat with our eyes, consuming far more of these than we should. If you want to pack dried fruit, just watch the serving size: 1 cup of fresh fruit is close to about ¼ cup of dried fruit. It is also important to read the labels on dried fruits, as many contain added sugars or colours.

Snacks to Pack


Meat, fish, Tofu

Loaded with phosphorus, another important mineral that can protect tooth enamel.


Carrots, celery, raw pear

Sometimes teeth require a little work to stay strong. Crisp, crunchy, foods that contain a large quantity of water (and require more chewing) are great for maintaining oral health because they can help to gently “brush” teeth, and stimulate the flow of saliva. Saliva contains good enzymes that combat those acids present in food and help to clean bits of food between teeth.


For more snack do’s and don’ts check out:

Tooth Trauma: What To Do In An Emergency

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We would all love if everything went as planned, and if we never got hurt. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents happen. Trauma to the face or teeth can be caused by any number of activities, from a baseball game to a car accident. Significant head trauma should be evaluated and treated in hospital emergency rooms, and when trauma occurs to your teeth, it’s important to know what to do to save your smile. Any dental injury will require an immediate examination by a dentist to diagnose the extent of trauma and provide treatment. It is possible for neighbouring teeth to suffer injuries that may go unnoticed, which will be detected by a thorough dental exam.


If you’re in an emergency situation, and your tooth comes out completely, don’t panic – we’ll help you through it!


1. Find your tooth and pick it up only by the crown (the white part), and be sure to avoid touching the root.

2. Clean the Area

No matter the degree of trauma to the tooth (a crack, chip, or loss of tooth), it’s important to clean both your face and the oral cavity with water or saline. This cleaning will make you feel more comfortable, help protect you from infection, and will facilitate the examination when you get to your dentist. If the tooth itself is dirty, wash it (for approximately 10 seconds) under cold running water.


3. Reposition the Tooth

One of the most important variables affecting the success of your tooth re-implantation, is the amount of time that the tooth is out of its socket. If you can, try to replant the tooth, then hold it in position by biting down on a cloth. If you are unable to replant the tooth, place it in a storage medium, such as a glass of milk or a special storage formula for avulsed teeth – Avoid storage in water! You can also transport your tooth in your mouth, just be careful to keep it between your molars and the inside of your cheek. Warning: For children, this method produces a risk of swallowing the tooth, so it is advisable to have them spit in a container and place the tooth inside.


4. Seek emergency dental treatment immediately.


Click here  for more detailed information on tooth trauma.


Braces can actually “strengthen” your teeth while in treatment!

We have had a few patients with braces that had accidents, but their teeth stayed in even if there was a big trauma! Thankfully, the braces kept them all attached together! The impact was distributed on several teeth instead of only one, and the roots all remained in place!

If your tooth has been knocked out, fractured, or displaced, it is best to contact your Ottawa family dentist first, as we may not have the materials or anesthesia required to treat these injuries. If your appliances get displaced or dislodged due to trauma, we will need to either adjust or replace the appliances as soon as possible, after you have seen your general dentist, depending on your comfort level. We always tell our patients, don’t worry about your appliances, we will fix them after, save your teeth first!

Three Common Misconceptions About Adult Braces

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Many adults settle for crooked teeth or an imperfect smile because they believe they have no orthodontic options to correct these issues. There are several different reasons people reject the idea of wearing braces as an adult, most of which should not be concerns at all. Here are some of the misconceptions about adult braces we often hear at our office:

Misconception #1: Braces Are Only for Children and Teenagers

It may surprise many people to learn that one in every five patients in orthodontic treatment is an adult. The idea that your smile can only be changed when you are very young is completely wrong. Just as it’s never too late to improve your physical fitness or nutrition habits, there is no age limit for improving your oral health or the appearance of your smile. We have treated patients in their 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s with great results. Adults can achieve the same benefits from braces as children or teenagers do including: aligned teeth, a more comfortable bite and the ability to brush and floss properly.

Misconception #2: Adult Braces Are Embarrassing

The word braces can automatically trigger images of awkward middle school students with brightly coloured metal covering their teeth, however, technology in orthodontics has come a long way from the head gear of the past. There are now several options for adults who want to correct their smiles while maintaining a mature and professional look during the process. Invisalign treatment involves a series of clear aligners which straighten teeth without the use of metal or wires and are nearly invisible. Incognito braces are customized brackets placed behind the teeth designed to deliver high quality results while being completely hidden from view. Clear ceramic braces work in much the same way as traditional metal braces, but provide a more subtle appearance with a colour very similar to that of a patient’s teeth.

Misconception #3: Braces Are More Painful for Adults

It is a common myth that orthodontic treatment will be more painful for adults since their teeth have already been in a certain position for so many years. In fact, adults undergoing treatment report the same level of soreness as children. Adults and children are typically most uncomfortable in the first 24 hours after an orthodontic adjustment and the discomfort normally disappears within three to five days. Patients who had braces as a child and remember the process being painful will be pleased to learn modern techniques and new technology are more efficient and cause less pressure on the teeth resulting in a more positive experience overall.

If you have been considering adult braces to achieve a beautiful smile, make chewing more comfortable or improve your overall oral health, we hope this information has helped to ease some of your concerns. Adult braces are effective, aesthetically pleasing, and cause a minimal amount of discomfort. We encourage you to read more about the benefits of adult braces and available treatment options on our website, or give us a call at 613-722-8500 to ask questions or set up an appointment.